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Advisers, accountants neck and neck

People running.

Both advisers and accountants can service SMSFs' unmet advice needs.

Advisers and accountants have an equal chance of servicing SMSFs’ unmet advice needs, however, several barriers have been identified, according to the latest industry research.

The “2017 Vanguard/Investment Trends Self-Managed Super Fund Reports” found 52 per cent of SMSF investor respondents were most likely to turn to a financial planner for their unmet advice needs, while 48 per cent preferred to go to an accountant.

When asked what held SMSF investors back from seeking advice for their unmet advice needs, with respondents able to choose multiple responses, 27 per cent of SMSF investors said they lacked confidence in the expertise of advisers and 23 per cent said advisers cost too much.

This was followed by 21 per cent indicating they found it hard to find an adviser who could advise on all their advice needs, 21 per cent revealing they had a previous poor experience with advisers and 17 per cent saying advisers lacked a strong code of conduct or ethics.

“The main thing that comes through is not [a lack of] trust or all the negative things you hear about financial planners in general,” Investment Trends head of wealth management research Recep Peker told media at the launch of the report this month.

“But what comes through is that trustees are after someone who is able to help them across all their needs and they want an adviser who’s an expert in handling SMSFs.

“Advisers costing too much relates back to the value that comes through to SMSF trustees – they’re saying that they’d get the most value if the adviser can do everything, but because they can’t do everything, they feel that it costs too much.

“So it’s essential that advisers go deeper into these clusters and help trustees against these needs.”

This year’s research also found the number of SMSFs with unmet financial advice needs was at a record high, with 277,000 trustees indicating this was the case, up from 255,000 trustees in 2016.

The research was based on online surveys conducted between February and March.

Responses from 3020 SMSF investors, 479 SMSF financial planners and 945 SMSF accountants were analysed.

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